Shanghai, Apr 12: Led by ace driver Narain Karthikeyan, A1 Team India staged a great come back at the penultimate round of the A1GP World Cup here. Karthikeyan was elated after his fine performance which saw him finish a mere 0.261 seconds behind A1 Team Portugal who led the session.
''I am happy with our performance today. The team worked very hard from last night through today to work on a good set up and it obviously worked quite well. We have struggled in finding an ideal qualifying set up for the last few races but now we seem to be getting back in form,'' he gushed. ''The team really stuck it out well and supported me and now we certainly do have the race pace. Obviously we are hoping for a great result when I start toward the front of the grid.'' ''The weather has been predicted to be tricky tomorrow with threats of showers which will make it more difficult for all the drivers as the track is already slippery and is likely to get even dirtier then. But then again, we will all face the same issue,'' he added.
''We, Team India want to pick up more points as the Championship comes to an end. I hope to keep up the momentum tomorrow and as a team, we will give it our best shot!'' Karthikeyan drove an incredibly quick lap with a time of 1:34.933 seconds in SQ1 (Sprint race Qualifying session 1) which put A1 Team India at P4, ahead of other potential Championship contenders, including A1 Team Germany, Great Britain, France and South Africa.
By SQ2 (Sprint race Qualifying session 2), Karthikeyan managed to improve his lap time to 1:34.688 seconds.
A1 Team India will now start at fourth position on the starting grid for the shorter twenty-minute format Sprint race.
In the next two qualifying sessions that would determine the standings for the Feature race, Karthikeyan first ran on old tyres and pulled in at 1:35.737 seconds for FQ1 (Feature race Qualifying Session 1).
When he went out for the second session (Feature race Qualifying Session 2) however, he managed an impressive 1:35.195 seconds, which put him up front at P5.
A1 Team India will start further up the grid at fifth place for the longer Feature race, which lends itself to more overtaking during this 69 minute (plus one lap) format.
A1 Team India also has what could be an advantage in the mandatory 2 pit stops in the Feature race, after putting up both of the best-ever pit stops at the Mexico race weekend last month and would hope for a podium finish tomorrow.